Brownies to chase away a bad day

These saucepan brownies are deep, dark and decadent with a crunchy toffee topping

Do you remember the children’s book about the little boy who had the “no good, very bad day”?

Well, my son had one of those awful days last week. I could tell from the moment he stomped his way into the living room, shielding his eyes and complaining about how bright the room was, that the day would be hard for him.

He didn’t find his breakfast yummy at all (even though I made French toast with syrup), he didn’t like any of the clothes I chose for him, and his hair was more knotted than usual and pulled against his head as I combed it flat.

Most of all, he did not want to go to school. I had to lift my screaming 3-year-old into the car and buckle him down with arms flailing because as much as I would have liked to keep my grumpy lump home, I had to go to work.

His day at school didn’t go much better than his morning. His friend was home sick, he flat refused to do his art projects, and by the end of the day, he had melted down into a ball of tears. By the time I picked him up, he was so frustrated and upset he could not be consoled.

I knew I needed to take drastic measures to cheer up my little boy, so I stopped by the store for a bag of toffee bits so we could make a batch of super decadent, ultra-chocolatey toffee brownies together.

He enjoyed measuring flour and stirring the batter and sampling a few (let’s face it, many) chocolate chips while we worked. While they baked, he ran to the kitchen often to peek through the glass to watch his treats cook. When he finally sat down to a gooey square and a glass of milk, (before dinner, no less… lucky boy) all the frowns were gone, and my happy boy sang in the bathtub and fell asleep early with a smile.

These saucepan brownies are deep, dark and decadent with a crunchy toffee topping that is sure to chase your bad days away.

Toffee brownies


2 sticks unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt (or a little more to taste)

½ teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup chocolate chips

1 cup heath toffee bits (find them near the chocolate chips)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease an 8 x 8 baking pan.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the sugar until dissolved.

Take off the heat and let sit until just warm.

Add the vanilla extract and stir.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next.

Stir in the cocoa powder until fully mixed, then add the flour and stir to combine.

Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into the prepared baking pan.

Use a spatula to flatten the top before sprinkling on the toffee bits in an even layer over the surface, reserving a few tablespoons to add at the very end.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Do not touch the top with your hands to check doneness — the melted toffee on top will be unbelievably hot and will certainly stick to your fingers and burn you. Check doneness by jiggling the pan: Once the center doesn’t move at all you can take the brownies out.

While the top is still molten hot, sprinkle on the reserved toffee bits to add visual and textural appeal.

Allow to cool completely before cutting.